Becoming Social: A Discussion on Using Social Media in Medicine

Post. Share. Like. Follow. These are the simple commands of social media that dominate our world, and today’s physician must make an informed decision about his or her professional and personal use of social media. Having an online presence as a doctor may afford you the power to disseminate medical news as an expert in health-related matters. Personally, social media may also help you stay up to date on public health trends and keep you connected to your peers. But the question remains – how can you jump on the social media bandwagon to maximize your career and better serve your patients? To help you decide, we have pulled together expert advice. We’ll share positive uses of social media as well as some of the diligence required to “social” safely.

Jerad Gardner, MD, Associate Professor of Pathology and Dermatology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences shares his thoughts on social media. “Physicians from any practice setting can benefit from having a professional social media presence, and Twitter is a great place to start. I use Twitter to teach, to learn, to network with colleagues locally and globally, and to have a powerful public voice about issues that matter for my field and my patients. It has done more to help my career succeed than almost anything else, and it’s actually pretty fun too. Many doctors fear that social media use will lead to legal issues or HIPAA violations, but this can easily be avoided by using a bit of common sense, common courtesy and by always respecting patient privacy just as you would in any public place. My social media 101 guide has more tips for getting started and staying out of trouble online: http://bit.ly/Twitter101JMG.”

Read more about the do’s and don’ts of social media from experts in our feature article in the October issue of the Journal.